New Site Changes

By Dan Vis
October 04, 2017

Those who have been a part of FAST for awhile, know that we are constantly working to tweak our site to make it more useful and user-friendly for our members. Looking back over the past 20 years, there have been countless changes. But one of our biggest updates took place one year ago today, and it led to some dramatic growth for our ministry.

And to celebrate that anniversary (which also happens to be my wife's birthday), we've just uploaded another big change. Last year's update focused on simplifying the user experience so people could find their way around more easily. Our update today doubles down on that exact same goal.

Here are some of the things you should notice the next time you login:

1) A more attractive, streamlined splash page encouraging people to join. You'll also notice a more intentional theme: climbing higher. The login link is just below the input form used to create a new account.

2) There are now more links in the menu bar at the top of the page making it easier to get to more sections of our site. On the mobile skin these will be down at the bottom in the menu area.

3) The WELCOME tab includes a nice "About Us" page for those who are new to FAST. When you are logged in, you also can find links to recent posts, and even a page with a complete archive of past Monday Memo's!

4) We're calling our challenges "CLASSES" now to make them clearer for new members. This section now shows you your current class if you are in one, provides links to all our FREE "starter" classes, and gives partners quick access to our entire library of classes. Nice!

5) The RESOURCES tab gives you quick access to all our study guides, and in any available translation if you are a partner. And to those who aren't, it gives an easy way to see what is available. No need to hunt around in different places looking for these materials!

6) We've added a new PROGRAMS tab to organize our advanced training courses like the Breakout Challenge and The Journey. These courses are going back to closed enrollment periods to provide a more interactive experience. Current Journey participants need to click the Journey link to go to the Journey area.

7) The CENTERS tab is a bit simpler to navigate, and existing training centers have been given some exciting new features. Namely, a way to find church members and see what they've been doing at FAST. We've also brought back our list of Care Group resources.

8) We've made the side menus more consistent through the site and added an "Invites / Friends" link in the office section, to make it easier to track, well, those you invite to join, and your friends. We're hoping this will encourage members to use these tools more frequently.

The changes listed above accomplish several things. First, they make it easier for members to get to the places they want. Second, it supports new members trying to get oriented to our site. Third, it makes our advanced programs more of a shared adventure. And fourth, it gives us a way to add more advanced programs--including several big projects (all new) that we have planned for 2018.

Fortunately, these changes are almost entirely on the front end. That is, they primarily change how things are displayed and linked together, rather than the code running the various processes in the background. For that reason we're hoping this change will be relatively bug free. We do have a number of deeper coding changes planned for the next few months. But we'll save those for another day.

All in all, we trust these changes will give everyone more of what they are looking for, and help us all to climb higher. I'm sure it won't be the last change you will see at FAST, but here's to praying it's a good next step...

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